Friday, October 11, 2013

PPBF: Unspoken

. . .A Story from the Underground Railroad.



Source
Author/Illustrator: Henry Cole
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Date: 2012

Genre: Historic Fiction
Ages: 4-12
Themes: Slaves, Underground Railroad, Civil War

Book Jacket: In this haunting, wordless story, a young girl discovers a runaway slave hiding in her family's barn.  The stranger's fearful eye weighs upon her conscience, and she must make a difficult choice. Will she have the courage to do what she knows is right?  Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl and the runaway as they each face a journey: one following the North Star, and the other following her heart.



Dedication: To a librarian friend, who long ago ignited the spark that lit the lantern. -H.C.

Why I like this book: The black pencil drawings on cream-colored paper are gentle, and reflect perfectly this story which takes place on a farm very close to the author's own childhood home. Although they tell the story well, I was surprised at my disappointment in discovering this was a wordless book, and how I longed for written communication!  This is why I am sharing words from the front and back of Unspoken. The author's note, a portion noted below, fills in the blanks, and fulfills my desire for more information.


Author's note: "When I was very little, I sat at the dining room table during Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, and listened to elderly relatives tell Civil War stories--stories they had heard directly from people who had lived during the war!"





CHILD FRIENDLY LINKS:



Find a copy of Unspoken here.

Teaching activities with "Dear America" series HERE

Slavery and the Making of America activities, videos and more HERE

Underground Railroad/Harriet Tubman videos HERE

Lesson Plans for the Underground Railroad HERE





Hope you enjoyed today's offering for Perfect Picture Book Fridays, when we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention.  This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents.  For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.


30 comments:

  1. This is a marvelous and thought provoking book. I think it is well suited to quiet contemplation with a child in your lap. Lovely!

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    1. Yes, you are right, Joanne. . .we can add our own words as we contemplate!

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  2. Jarm, this book is a winner. Great title. I love the cover and illustrations, along with the idea of a child following her heart to help another at great risk. I like the starkness of the book without words and done in stark tones. It really encourages a kid to imagine the story. I want this book! Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. I am so glad you like it, Patricia. . .it IS a winner!

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  3. Such a tough subject to tackle, even with words! Thanks for sharing this one for those of us who haven't seen it (too bad our local libraries can't hold millions of volumes!)

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    1. You are right, Wendy, it is a difficult subject for children to take in.

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  4. I really like this book. The illustrations are remarkable. Thanks for the review!

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    1. I, too, was taken in by the illustrations. And, you are entirely welcome!

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  5. I am surprised that this is a wordless book -- but I suspect it's very powerful that way, and could lead to some in-depth discussion. Thank you for telling us about it, and for finding those excellent resources.

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    1. Yes, the more I think about it, Beth, the more I realize the wisdom in creating this as a wordless book.

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  6. Those illustrations are amazing. This reminds me of some of Wiesner's work. Though I'm not a fan of most wordless picture books, I do love David Wiesner, because his stories are so rich.

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    1. I'm always amazed at what a few illustrations can convey!

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  7. Wow. You had me at wordless. Can't wait to get my hands on this one. Looks powerful.

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  8. Toddler took me away, so I hope this isn't a duplicate comment. Wordless feels powerful with these images. Can't wait to see this one.

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    1. Kids have a way of doing that, Stacy. . .hope you can find it soon!

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  9. The pencil drawings are just beautiful. I've always enjoyed stories about the Underground Railroad so I must read this one.

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    1. We actually have a "safe house" museum nearby, which was a big boost to our homeschool curriculum years ago, Penny!

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  10. Lovely review. I just got this one from the library. Sounds like it's a very moving story.

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    1. Indeed, it is, Darshana . . .thanks for stopping by!

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  11. This is a wonderful and valuable book, Jarm! I love historical books for kids...I think I enjoy reading them as much as they enjoy listening to them.:) Great activities as well.:)

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    1. I enjoy learning my history this way too, Vivian!

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  12. I have seen this book. Didn't realise it had no text Very moving, must find it again and check it out. Thanks Jarm. (hope you are feeling better)

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  13. This sounds like a very powerful book, Jarm. Thanks so much for sharing it. I relate to your disappointment about no words, though! I know picture books are about art, but I always want words too!

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    1. And it just occurred to me (duh!) that the title reflects the lack of vocabulary!

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  14. I've been wanting to see this book. Thanks for highlighting it today.

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    1. You are welcome, Tina. I hope you can find it in your corner of the world!

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I would love to have you comment...thanks!

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel